Spicy Stir-Fry 101

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Summer is here and farmer’s markets are now offering a bounty of locally grown rainbow vegetables. Stir-fried dishes are perfect for this time of year. They are easy to prepare, healthy, and versatile, and you can make a large batch and enjoy them for multiple meals. In “Spicy Stir-Fry 101” I not only demonstrate a simple recipe for “Spicy Stir-fried Vegetables with Chicken”, I show the classic Chinese method of cutting, marinating, and cooking raw chicken breast as well as a time-saving method of boning and using rotisserie chicken from the supermarket.

This recipe is from my recently published paperback of the award-winning classic, “Spoonful of Ginger”, which I am proud to say is as beautiful as the hard cover edition. For the uninitiated, ”Spoonful of Ginger” took 7 years to research and write and was inspired by my fascination with the ”food as medicine” philosophy that is incorporated into classic Chinese cooking. For the book, I traveled all over the world, seeking out “food as medicine” healers, doctors, and cooks. This book chronicles my travels and relates my adventures meeting the extraordinary authorities and cooks. Spoonful also contains a treasury of some of my favorite, delicious, and health-giving recipes, many of which I compiled and adapted from my travels.

So here is a basic recipe for Spicy Stir–Fried Chicken with Vegetables. Feel free to substitute other vegetables – whatever is available – and adjust the cooking time as necessary. BTW, don’t overcook your vegetables. They should be al dente or crisp tender.

Enjoy!

Nina

Grilled Scallops and Rainbow Peppers over Wilted Greens in a Fresh Cilantro Dressing

1 ½ pounds sea scallops, rinsed and drained

Ginger Marinade
2 Tablespoons rice wine or sake
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 1 ½ inch squares
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper

6 to 8 10-inch bamboo or metal skewers (if bamboo, soaked in cold water to cover for 1 hour)

Cilantro Dressing
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup clear rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, leaves only

1 pound snow pea shoots, tender spinach, or other baby greens, rinsed and drained
2 teaspoons canola or corn oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons rice wine or sake
1 teaspoon salt

1. Put the scallops in a bowl. Mix the Ginger Marinade ingredients and pour them over the scallops, tossing lightly to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and let the scallops sit at least 30 minutes. Alternatively thread the peppers and the scallops onto the bamboo skewers, starting and ending with the peppers. Brush the scallops and peppers with the marinade.
2. Mix the Cilantro Dressing ingredients in a bowl. Trim the wilted or any hard stems from the snow pea shoots or baby greens and place near the stove. Pour the Cilantro Dressing into a serving container.
3. Heat a wok or a large skillet, add the oil, and heat until near smoking. Add the greens and garlic and toss lightly about 20 seconds, then add the rice wine and salt, and toss lightly over high heat about 1 minute or less, until the greens are slightly wilted but still bright green. Spoon the greens onto a serving platter and mound slightly so that the scallops can be arranged on top.
4. Prepare a fire for grilling and arrange the skewers of scallops and peppers about 3 inches from the source of heat. Broil or grill about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Turning once and brushing with the marinade. Arrange the cooked scallops and peppers over the wilted greens, leaving them on the skewers or removing them. Spoon the Cilantro Dressing on top or serve on the side. Serve warm.

Snow pea shoots and snow peas are sweet and neutral in nature, so they naturally complement many foods. They are reputed to reinforce the spleen and qi and promote the production of bodily fluids, thereby reducing thirst. Cilantro is pungent and warming. Chinese doctors feels that it promotes blood circulation, and it is often prescribed internally and externally. Cilantro past is often applied for easing the discomfort of chicken pox and measles.

Disclaimer: Herbs, foods, and other natural remedies are not substitutes for professional medical care.
For a specific health problem, consult a qualified health-care giver for guidance.

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